AKABUL: Afghan security forces will be banned from calling for NATO air strikes in residential areas to help in their operations, President Hamid Karzai said today, three days after 10 civilians died in such a strike in the country’s east.
NATO air strikes and civilian casualties have become a significant stress point in the relationship between Karzai and his international backers.
The issue threatens to further destabilise a precarious international withdrawal, to be completed by the end of 2014.
Addressing a conference at Kabul’s National Military Academy, Karzai expressed his anger about the strike and said he would issue a decree tomorrow preventing any resort to such measures by his forces.
If issued, such a decree would for the first time bar Afghan security forces from relying on NATO air strikes, and increase pressure on them as they increasingly assume control of security from international forces.